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Health Politics

Former nurse appointed as health and social care minister

Ms. Dorries has been widely criticised for her outspoken and controversial views.



UK Parliament / Nadine Dories
UK Parliament / Nadine Dories

A former nurse has joined the Department of Health and Social Care.

Former-nurse, Conservative MP and Brexiteer Nadine Dorries has joined the Department of Health and Social Care as a junior health minister.

It is the first time in recent years that a former registered nurse has undertaken a ministerial role within the department that leads and manages the NHS in England.


Dorries has been widely criticised for her outspoken and controversial views on abortion, same-sex marriages and welfare benefits.

According to voting records at TheyWorkForYou, Ms. Dorries has also almost always voted for more restrictive regulation of trade union activity, consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices and almost always voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability.

She has been subjected to numerous investigations over expenses claims.

Not currently listed on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, according to a 2009 report Ms. Dorries last worked as a registered nurse in the 2000s. There is no indication to suggest she has any recent clinical or managerial experience in healthcare settings.

In a short statement on social media, Ms. Dorries commented; “having originally trained as a nurse, I am thrilled to have been appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State”.

She adds that she looks forward to working with both Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Boris Johnson, the newly appointed Prime Minister. 

Numerous nurses have taken to social media in outrage claiming the MP does not represent the views and morals held by the majority of registered nurses.


£200 million NHS training budget could be lost to the private sector

Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.



NHS hospital corridor

Money paid by NHS trusts is now being “clawed back by the government”.

More than £200m is lying unused by cash-strapped health trusts in England because of restrictions in the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme.

The restrictions mean that money from the levy can only be used to fund training costs and not salaries – meaning already cash-strapped organisations are unable to recruit additional staff.


Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.

According to the UNISON report, It Doesn’t Add Up, 79% of the levy money is yet to be used and warns that if this trend continues substantial NHS funding will be lost.

Levy money not spent after two years is reallocated to a central Government pot and used to subsidise apprenticeships for smaller employers – who don’t have to pay into the levy. This means cash from NHS budgets being diverted into the private sector.

Millions sat idle while there are 100,000 vacancies.

UNISON is now calling for the Government to change the rules so levy funding can also be spent on apprentice salaries and the wages of staff employed to cover for apprentices when they are training.

They have also suggested that the money could be used to fund a new extensive apprenticeship programme across the entire NHS for nursing and all the other health professions experiencing shortages.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said; “Hundreds of millions of pounds are sitting idle at a time when budgets are stretched and there are 100,000 vacancies across the NHS,”.

“There are real concerns about the standard of training apprentices receive, with many carrying out administrative and clinical support roles for peanuts. Ministers must reform the system to ensure money allocated to the health service stays within the NHS and invest properly to ensure apprenticeships play a full role in solving the growing staffing crisis.”

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Health Politics

Bill calling for safer staffing legislation put before Parliament

There are now 43,671 vacant nursing posts throughout the NHS in England alone.



Maria Caulfield

The Bill will seek to “establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

Maria Caulfield, Conservative MP for Lewes, nurse and member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), today brought a Bill designed “to establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

The Bill comes as nursing vacancy rates hit a record high with 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone – leaving 12% of full-time nursing posts unfilled.


In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the RCN highlights the impact the nursing staffing crisis is having on patient safety.

Scotland recently secured new legislation on safe staffing and a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.

‘No one is responsible and no one is accountable’.

Ms Cauldfield said; “There is increasing evidence that the right number of qualified nurses can improve patient outcomes in terms of mortality, morbidity and quality of care and that conversely, an insufficient number of nurses can have a potentially life-threatening effect for patients.”

Presenting the primary aim of the Bill as; “to make the Government accountable for nursing levels in England, as currently no one is accountable for nursing levels in England and that is why we have such a high nursing vacancy rate.”

Before adding that the other aims of the Bill were ensuring the NHS has “a fully costed workforce strategy and nursing numbers” alongside ensuring training and development for nurses throughout their career.

Cauldfield controversially voted against scrapping the pay cap for NHS workers in 2017.

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